The Real Meaning of Charity

The most common association with the word charity today is giving. Although giving is an act of charity, what charity actually means is love.

The Fall From Grace

Since the King James Bible became an obsolete object of ridicule, the true meaning and understanding of the word charity has quietly changed from something magnificent and holy to a simple act unconnected to God's mercy and salvation. We have all fallen for this subdued version, and it doesn't help when you open any modern dictionary and see this:

Charity: "generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity." - dictionary.com.

And at oxforddictionaries.com: "the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need."

To their credit, they still list the true meaning at the bottom of their list: "archaic love of humankind, typically in a Christian context: faith, hope, and charity." To their discredit, they call that form of charity, "archaic."

According to the same online dictionary, archaic means, "very old or old fashioned." Since the common cultural context of the word charity means simply to give, defining charity as archaic shouldn't be considered offensive. However, that particular definition states, "archaic love," not "archaic meaning." Apparently, Christian love is archaic. The pocket Oxford American Thesaurus published in 2008 uses these synonyms to describe the word archaic: "outmoded, out of date, bygone, extinct, defunct, prehistoric, and OBSOLETE."

It is interesting that lexicographers are so involved in their work that they don't realize that the world is still filled with millions of Christians to this day who follow that, "archaic," form of love.

What is also interesting is that the 1979 version of the Oxford American Dictionary (Heald Colleges Edition) defines charity as: "loving kindness toward others." Admittedly, it is a simplified version of the meaning of charity, but it also hits the nail on the head. Strange that as one looks backward in time, the definition of charity becomes not just a simple humanistic act of only giving, but an expression of ultimate love not fettered by the definition of a single act.

Why is this Persnickety So Important?

It's just a simple misunderstanding right? No, it isn't. Since the beginning, Satan has twisted the word of God just a little - enough to mislead humanity into the temptation of knowledge over love - the knowledge of God so we wouldn't need him (Genesis 3:4-5). Satan changed the meaning of God's word and Adam and Eve were willing to listen and accept it.

According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, copyright 1890, the word charity in the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament is defined as love, ie. affection or benevolence, specifically: "a love feast." A love feast! When is the last time you have heard charity described as a love feast? In fact, the word charity is an escalation of the word love which is defined in the context of, "in a social or moral sense." Charity makes love look almost bare in comparison. Not to worry, the Greek meaning of love in the New Testament often refers to the same meaning as charity. But the word charity draws our attention to a deeper love.

The Difference Between Charity and Knowledge

1 Corinthians 8:1
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (Edify means to "build up.")


Knowledge makes you FEEL bigger but charity MAKES you bigger. Seeking knowledge fills your head with facts and truths, but charity (love) makes you more Godly. Just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with learning, but the point the Bible makes, is that the emphasis of the pursuit of knowledge over love, is wrong.

Source

The Greatest Commandment

1 Timothy 1:9-10
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Matthew 22:35-40
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Loving God and loving your neighbor (everyone), trumps knowledge and even the law in that if the two great commandments were followed, the law would not be necessary.

Small Changes in the Word of God leads to Missing Meanings

The New International Version of the Bible omits verse 37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The New International Version of the Bible omits verse 37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. | Source

The Defining Twist

This brings us back to loving God. If we choose to believe words that have been twisted, we could end up being greatly tempted. The Bible instructs us to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Thus it follows that because God loves us, we should love God and love others. Therefore, if the meaning of charity was to give THINGS to others, then wouldn't it follow that we should also expect God to give US things? And this is indeed what the modern Christian thinks, they pray for fancy cars, miraculous healings and wealth. But this is not right, charity means to love as God loves. Notice we cannot ask for more of God's love because we already have it, therefore there is only one thing left to do: love others!

This is why it is so crucial that charity is defined clearly - so that we do not misunderstand God's will for our lives because of a deliberate twisting of the meaning of a simple word.

Then What Finally, is the True meaning of Charity?

Romans 15:1-2
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.


There is that word edification again. And although the word love or charity is not mentioned, it is implied in the actions we are instructed to take. Helping others at the expense of our own comfort is an act of love. Notice also that the result of this love, this charity, is edification just like in 1 Corinthians 8:1 mentioned earlier. Love builds up others (and ourselves).

1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13
     Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
     And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
     And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
     Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
     Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The Whole Point

God is a giving God. He gave us charity so that we could give love to others. Giving to the needy is a wonderful calling, but charity is not just about giving away unwanted items to unwanted people for a tax break or a even just a temporary good feeling. Charity is sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others. Charity is loving the unlovable. Charity is peaceful and hopeful and humble. It was out of love that Jesus suffered on a cross to bear the weight of our sins, sacrificing his innocence so we could gain ours if we choose to follow him. That is what true love is: lowering yourself to lift up another, thinking only of their benefit.

If this seems like a tough act to follow, don't worry - true charity starts with a kind word given by you on a bad day to a checker at the store, holding a door open for an older person when you're in a hurry or even asking God to bless an enemy at work. But it all starts with love. Learn to love God because he loved you first, then learn to pass it on to everyone else.

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Comments 87 comments

Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Good Morning Mark,

My dear friend this was one of the most wonderful hubs I have read and I truly believe Christ led. I am so excited at what you are going to bring to us. This today was my daily bread. When two or more are gathered in his name there he will be. I thank you for the beautiful word today and sharing it with us. You brought truth to the table today.God Bless you..I book marked this for future reading.

Sunnie


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 5 years ago

I guess you can learn something new everyday! I always believed that charity, was something that related to giving someone who needs: money, clothes, shelter and so forth. this sure helps. It is great to know that without me realizing it, I have given charity, love to others all my life. and this is what God is expecting. great article!


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

I thoroughly enjoyed this hub. Write more like it, please!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi Sunnie! Thank you for your words. I'm not trying to be immodest, but I also feel this was God's work, I know for dead certain, I could never have written this without him. I'm glad you are the first to read it and grateful it blessed you as your hubs bless me.

Jo, thanks for reading and following, I will be by to read your hubs very soon. I hope I didn't come off too judgmental of giving to the needy, I think it's a wonderful thing you're doing and obviously doing it with love!

Silver, thank you! I definitely will :-)


hemustincrease 5 years ago

Amen. The twisting of words is a subtle way to water down truth. True charity is to love as God loves and that is impossible outside of being a recipient of His grace in salvation. Even then we fall far short. True charity is the most beautiful of things. And false charity is one of the ugliest. Good hub.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Wow! Beautifully said hemustincrease. Thank you.


Rommergrot 5 years ago

Excellent, keep it coming. Charity begins at home and if all could just find it, it would eliminate wars and other conflict. You presented the truth in a truly excellent post.


Tobia 5 years ago

Well written , Marc! It is obvious it's from the heart.

Thank you for following God's leading. You are using your gift to it's fullest potential to bless others lives. Keep up the good work, my friend.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

I second Rommergrot's words. Charity begins at home. If this example was followed there, the world would be a better place. Well written hub!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Rommergrot, I didn't think of the worldwide effect an attitude of charity could have, but I agree. I will definitely write more.

Tobia, thank you, I think you're right. I'm glad you came by to read it and leave your wonderful comments.

Hi Gypsy! I guess we each have to start with ourselves to bring world peace. I know you're already doing your part with your art. Creating beauty is crucial to lifting up the spirit.


Utrecht11 5 years ago

This article is true and Holy Spirit inspired.

Wonderful insight backed up by the scriptures. You showed the correct way of looking at charity, one I have not heard before. Thank you for sharing this. Keep'em coming.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you very much Utrecht. I will write more for sure.


FirstCommunion profile image

FirstCommunion 5 years ago from US

I enjoyed reading this hub, thank for sharing!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks First, appreciate the visit and the comment.


MysteryPlanet profile image

MysteryPlanet 5 years ago

"the King James Bible became an obsolete object of ridicule," really? Well I suppose anything and everything can be an obsolete object of ridicule depending upon the person.

You make an excellent point about the word meanings though. Words change meaning constantly (evolving language and culture) and many of the English words that were used in King James day do not mean the same thing as they do today. That is why we must look to the original languages and lexicons to discover what we are reading about. "Charity" is a good example but there are many more. Very often seeming contradictions are explained when we look up the original wording.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello Mystery, thanks for reading and commenting. Many people think that the King James Bible is obsolete. In the progressive churches I have visited they tried very hard to get me to take an NIV, saying that the KJV is impossible to understand. Recently I went into a Christian bookstore to look for a new KJV Bible as my old one is worn out, and the owner of the store ridiculed me for almost five minutes on my preference for "thees" and "thous."

I agree that language is always changing, which is why I looked to the Greek dictionary in the back of my Strong's Concordance.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

What a beautifully constructed hub Alexander. As a non-Christian, I can still appreciate the spirit of it.

Personally, I much prefer the language of the KJV to the modern Bibles..it transfers me to another, more poetic dimension


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Totally agree Jane on all pints!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you so much Jane and Gypsy, that means a great deal to me.


ashendreamer profile image

ashendreamer 5 years ago

Wow, I had no idea dictionaries were defining charity that way. That's what I get for using one from 1959 my whole life, huh?

Nice job. :)


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks!

Can I have that one? That's probably the best version available!


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 5 years ago from West Allis

Fantastic! You are correct. There is nothing archaic about Creator-Centered-Love. When we confess to believe that the Lord will provide us with what we need, then using the things we have to help those that don't have and/or don't believe is not burensome or troubling. The Lord has our back, so we have theirs. The thing we have to get people to understand is, at some point in time, it will be their "pole-to-carry" and they will have to have someone else's back and thus trust in the act of charity. 1Corinthians 13 has long been my favorite chapter in the Bible and this hub does the command great justice. Peace


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Exactly right AM. I often think that the Lord has socialistic aspects and encourages the same in us. If we acted on that kind of love instead of stepping on others to get ahead, we would all have plenty and we would all be prosperous. Bless you my friend, I'm glad you came by.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Mark, I am wowed! I love this message as I love the original author, boy, carpenter, baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus the teacher of great talent with out sin, walking and healing by touch or by faith of one that asked for another sick in bed distances away yet healed by his command, so many things and yet I have faith that it was greater than the number recorded.

You have provided a message with scripture that I was trying to explain in a note to A.M. just minutes ago. Now I have a better understanding of what it was I was trying to say. Coincidence? No, God works among us all the time that we Agape Yahweh, and Agape our enemies, we are no better than them. In modern times one might look in the enemies pocket on his uniform and find pictures and letters from home, and be humbled to find they too had family waiting their safe return, just as we did, it changes you inside for ever, it made a difference in my approach and everyone elses. I read that over 1,000 rounds were fired per each casualty, I thought about that, we as they were using full automatic fire, 30 shots in 4 seconds as a scare tactic, the one with the most fire chased the other back to retreat. I'll shut up as I could go on with this for a while as I just experienced the Charity of Christ and the power of prayer by myself and several others that I love. You have done well and I hope you teach me more in the future.

I love you, dust


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

50 Caliber, as always, you have something substantial to add. I also think there is a lot more that Jesus did that is not written in the Bible - in fact I think it even says so!

I love how you draw attention to the one who created and lived a life of charity - that should be the center of our focus.

It is so amazing to me how God uses us and the work that we do is greater in his hands than it ever could be if it was merely our own. And this is what is happening with this hub and I am so humbled and grateful that God chose me this time. I don't want to go on because it feels like self glorification but I do want to say that I have seen the effect of this spread around slowly and surely and your comment about AM just solidifies it.

Just to be clear to everyone reading this: If there is any good in this hub, THIS IS GOD'S WORK, NOT MINE BUT HIS.

I like your use of the word Agape. That was in the Concordance too, but I have heard it so much in progressive churches these days that I didn't want to associate this message with familiar rituals in the progressive church family and so left the word agape out. But it is important and it is THE word that describes God's love.

Man, you sure bring the point home Dusty. I've often wondered how many Christians have found each other at war with their brothers in Christ because of nationality and politics. Talk about loving your enemy! This is why I want to watch Eastwood's "Letters" movies.

Thank you for humbling me even if that wasn't your intention.

I love you too Dusty.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

Awesome words of wisdom!! My grandmother always taught us to kill them with kindness. Open your heart and home showing them love so that they in return could pass it on. Thanks!!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

And an awesome comment as well tlpoague! Thank you for the reminder about killing with kindness. Reminds me of the verse Romans 12:20: "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."

Difficult to do, but absolutely an expression of God's love.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

You are becoming famous Alexander Mark!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Ha ha, not yet!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Doing it just for a vengeful heaping of coals would be as wrong as not doing it, in my humble opinion, we need to do it with a loving heart, yes? 50


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Of course! I think that verse is about frustrating the enemy when they want to stir you up, and by returning their fire with real love, we consternate their plans and redirect their anger - hopefully to the point they start thinking, seeing things in a different light. If they were literal coals though, I think I lot more people would be doing it and that WOULD be wrong.


MasonicTraveler profile image

MasonicTraveler 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

I truly believe this to be the case. Most of us don't reaize that to have true charity, we need to have love for the thing we feel charitable about. great Hub!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

I like the way you worded that Masonic. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


villar profile image

villar 5 years ago from Hong Kong

thanks for sharing... Charity from the heart... thats one of my parents taught us... It is God's love who live in us :) have a nice day!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for commenting villar, like the profile pic and the message.


FirstCommunion profile image

FirstCommunion 5 years ago from US

I like the way you explain your ideas. Very well said!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you First, thanks for saying so.


villar profile image

villar 5 years ago from Hong Kong

My pleasure Alex :) its my first time here in HP I enjoy reading all the sharing...


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

This is a very enlightening hub on charity. I believe that we are all blessed so that we can be blessing to others. We have much to give but we just don't realize it.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello jpcmc! It's all about God's love.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Thank you so much for this Hub. This is something that I consider a lot in my life. I do community service when I can and I donate when I can... but I feel sometimes that true charity is giving when you really can't. And this is something that I haven't quite brought myself to do comfortably yet. I know of people who can and am so amazed. I hope I am able to become a better person in this way. Thanks for this thought-provoking Hub.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you glassvisage! I think you're already doing enough, more than most of us. My opinion is that you should give when the time is right, don't worry about emptying your bank account or stretching yourself beyond what you can. Jesus also wants us to be wise stewards with what he gives us.

I am blessed by your visit, thank you.


SusieQ42 5 years ago

Thought I'd better stop by and pay a visit. This is quite a study you've done! It is very interesting and quite unfortunate that Webster's could do a better job with the word "Charity." Oh well, guess it's on the par with wikapedia, huh? Thanks for the info.; it was a blessing!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi SusieQ42! Your visit to my favorite hub is a blessing.

As far as dictionaries and other authorities, I think there is hidden motivation to hide the things of God so that people are never reminded of God and all that he is.


SusieQ42 5 years ago

Really! What has the United States come to? I love Him and will share my love no matter what! Blessings to you, Alexander.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for being the man who published this long-overdue and needful article about the true meaning of Christian Charity. Your Hub is tremendous! I love it. Well done.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

What beautiful words. All I can say is thank you and the glory goes to God.


tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 5 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

I never found a hub page that I can't disagree with or find something wrong with it...and this one is no exception!

The last sentence, when you say "Learn to love God because he loved you first, then learn to pass it on to everyone else." instead of a comma you should have used "and"! Other than that serious flaw I must say this was a fantastic hub page (work on the comma) :)

I'm gonna read it again, it was so good!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Oh wow, thank you very much for the high praise, I am blessed you want to read it again! I'll look into that comma thing :-) :-) :-)


stessily 5 years ago

Alexander: Thank you for this interesting and well-researched presentation of the true meaning of charity. It's a meaning by which I was raised. The passages which you quote perfectly illustrate your presentation. And the last paragraph gives easy examples for becoming familiar with the feeling of charity, through little acts of kindness which may not seem so little to the recipients. I've been having a problem with exiting from my driveway for months now; instead moving into the empty lane to the left, cars stay in the right lane so I can't pull out. I started making a conscious effort not to do the same as I drive, simply because it seems so road-hogging to me. Then I began to notice that I no longer have a problem of waiting and waiting to exit from my driveway --- not because cars are being more chivalrous but because they aren't speeding around the curve downwind from my driveway. Is there a connection? Perhaps.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi Stessily, thank you. I like your real world application of charity, and it's neat to meet someone who has understood the real meaning all your life. I used to take it at face value when people used it the other way, and even now I find it hard to break that habit. I don't know if there is a connection between good acts and blessings because Karma is not a Biblical concept (despite the ideals of many televangelist preachings).

However, God does promise rewards and that is between each individual to know and not for me to judge! I am glad that you are being blessed that way, you know who's watching over you. When my mother broke her foot at a bad time in her life, somehow whenever she went shopping, a parking spot near the building would always open up for her. That's God's love right there.

I admire you for taking something annoying and maybe even disheartening in your life and learning a lesson from it. You have blessed me today, thank you.


Aceblogs profile image

Aceblogs 5 years ago from India

Well if i had to rate this hub on a scale of 10 , i would give this one 20 on 10 :) This is one of the best hubs i have read so far on hubpages . I agree with jo goldsmith that i always believed that doing charity was donating to the needy but never thought living too could be doing charity . great share mate !


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Aceblogs. Give it time, you'll find better hubs than mine :-)


Deb Welch 5 years ago

Alexander - This was a well-written beautiful Hub. No one mentioned compassion. Compassion is a basis for Charity - the heart and soul feels and wants to give. I had a few thoughts that came to mind - my neighbors for the most part in the many places I have lived were the opposite of me. Nasty - uncaring - trespassing - wicked people. Do you turn the other cheek? Treat them nice and sweet - do only good onto those that hate you and do all sorts of evil onto you - your home and your family? Not an ideal situation. At home - I wasn't taught charity or volunteerism. I had to obtain that on my own.

Lastly with asking for help from God - one would most likely ask God for things that are of God not of the world. I think God turns a deaf ear to worldly requests.

I need that new car - the latest game and I want to win the lottery big time. How about, give me the right words in my job interview that will help me eventually to improve my life for my family and so and so forth...that would be a much better prayer. Thank you.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hi Deb, thank you for your comment. I never thought about mentioning compassion, I didn't think there was a difference between compassion and love, but you are right, compassion is a desire / a feeling that we want to give of ourselves. I wouldn't want charity to rest on compassion, but rather that doing the right thing will increase our compassion for the lovable and unlovable.

I am very nice to a lot of people, but when I feel angry or resentful, I really struggle to give love! I think you're right about God not answering worldly requests. But the more we fall in line with his will, the more we will know and desire to ask for things that are in God's will. I once got the car of my dreams for the time it was meant to be in my life, and it served God's will in that it was completely reliable - a blessing.

But there are plenty of times God says, "no," too. I hope you will get that job you want. I know for me, I have a really hard time with God's, "no" because I do what I want anyway - which would explain the hardships I am suffering now :-)

God bless you Deb.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great hub and thank you so much for sharing.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello Eiddwen, thanks for commenting.


stessily 4 years ago

AM, This is one of my all-time favorite hubs, so I'm revisiting it to savor it in the waning days of this enigmatic year of 2011.

Without intending to sound judgmental or preachy, I know that this vale of tears would lose so much of its ugliness, pain, and sorrow if only people understood and practiced charity in its true sense. It is a daily challenge which I set before myself, to practice charity.

Kind regards and thank you again for this dear, dear hub! Stessily


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Hello again Stessily! You are one of my all time favorite hubbers - I really appreciate your visits and I am humbled that this is one of your favorite hubs.

I give the glory to God especially for this one and I'm glad I could be a part of it - especially with your accolades.


stessily 4 years ago

AM, Thanks for such a nice compliment, that I'm one of your all time favorite hubbers. Likewise!

I keep intending to ask and keep forgetting, so here it is: Is that opening photo another of your cellphone photos? The expanse of sky, the shape and shading of the clouds, the play of light --- they are incomparable. I'd love to make an enlargement of that photo as well for my ideal writer/artist/quilter nook.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Yes, I took that one with my EVO this time. I'm going to sit down real soon and find those pics for you and email them. Unfortunately, the quality is not that great when you enlarge them.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Excellent hub. Glad you dug into older dictionaries for better definition of charity. Would love to see believers understand charity better.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks tirelesstraveler. Some modern reference books may clarify something better than before, but I find older books more untouched by prejudice


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

I've always loved others, helped others, and cared for everyone in my midst including strangers. I've given my heart out to many just like opening a door for the elderly, or helping them across the street, but I never cared to think it was fulfilling a god like quality such as charity.

I always thought it was the right thing to do, because I followed my inner spirit to do what felt good to me, and for some reason giving charity came natural to me. I never been selfish, and actually hate selfishness, but not those who render such to one another. I tend to try to help them as well somehow, by showing them how to share which leads to caring, just as a parent needs to show their children.

Life is a beautiful and precious thing to cherish, and living righteously, by God, or by the pure will of my inner spirit (empowered by the holy ghost), where I find love, happiness, and joy in it all. Even in the darkest places I've been, I felt God has protected me in return for being so charitable, and that is also his form of charity to us all I believe.

Awesome hub, I was stunned to read it through and through, and came here, because you answered one of my questions so accurately, and for that I'm repaying the favor as a form of charity as well, sharing is just that.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

I love that you are paying it forward Cloud, I am blessed by your comment.

I wish I could say that charity comes that naturally to me, but we all have special gifts given by God that others must struggle to do right in. I feel good when giving also, especially when it hurts to give and I can really use the money (oddly, giving money hurts but most of the time giving my time or other material gifts do not), but it ain't always easy!

I am grateful that God teaches me to give of myself without reward - and that is the beauty of Jesus's love, he gives without requiring payback. He wants us to know his love and because we know his love to also act in love by giving of ourselves without reward. I am thankful there is no system of barter or trade because we can never repay God!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

I agree with the the others that this is a Spirit-inspired hub, beautifully and articulately written. It took a different turn than I expected, and I'm so glad it did. This is the first of your serious hubs I have read, and I will be reading more as soon as I can.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you WannaB, I'm grateful for your comment, I hope to write more Bible hubs in the future.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

Amen! God is looking for big hearts not big heads full of knowledge! You can't really know God apart from experiencing the love of God in a personal way. Many make the study of doctrine to be an end to itself. What is doctrine if it doesn't lead you into a closer walk with God? My thought is that, "God is Love" now that's pure doctrine!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Right on wba108. Thanks for the great comment.


pseudo-scripto14 profile image

pseudo-scripto14 4 years ago from Philippines

A well-inspired hub! Truly that "archaic love" is a thing of the past nowadays and I'm grateful that you put up an article like this who begins to question what type of love I can possibly convey! But I believe that GOD works in mysterious ways and dwella in our midst to touch the heart of those who refuse to recognize him to extend the love emanating from GOD! Praise the LORD!!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

pseudo, I like what you said, that God, "dwells in our midst to touch the heart of those who refuse to recognize him to extend the love emanating from God." I couldn't have said it better myself. God bless you and yes, praise the Lord!


stessily 4 years ago

AM, Since first discovering this precious piece of thought peace almost half a year ago, I have returned many times to bask in the beauty of the opening photo, taken by you, a photo which is one of the most beautiful sky photos I've ever seen. You are a deep thinker, a talented artist, and an incredible writer. Your faith blossoms like an eternal spring through your words and images.

Kind regards, Stessily


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Stressily, Thank you for commenting so I reviewed this hub.

Alexander Mark. Thank you for writing this. Have more words than time at the moment. Am linking this hub to one of mine


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Stessily, thank you again. Honestly, I just flip out my phone and click away - I love them too though I must admit. I will look through my mess of pictures again and see if I can't find them for you - I know they're in my computer somewhere! Thanks again for the awesome compliments.

Tirelesstraveler, I'm glad you came by, I'll be by to check out which one you linked soon, thank you for the honor.


CBartelmey profile image

CBartelmey 4 years ago from Colorado, United States

I really enjoyed this. I found you because you answered the question, "How do you follow your heart?” which then led me to your profile, and then this Hub. I think to analyze scripture and deduce meaning is a lost art that few practice, and your conclusion has some impressive points. “That is what true love is: lowering yourself to lift up another, thinking only of their benefit.” Lowering yourself to lift up another – that is a great image. “Learn to love God because he loved you first, then learn to pass it on to everyone else.” Learn to pass it on – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Great Hub, voted up and I will definitely be following to see what you come up with next.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you very much CBartelmey - I am always grateful to hear when someone benefits from this work. I hope I can meet your expectations when I do get back on the keyboard, I would definitely like to write more like these. I enjoyed your response also on that question forum. I'll be visiting your profile for sure.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I see you have cut through all the baloney and gotten tithe core of the meaning of charity. The Corinthians chapters that you cite are my favorite from the Bible. And I hear and agree with all your logic. Our society has gotten so far away from the true meaning of charity it isn't even funny. "Love is patient, love is kind". We forget that in modern times. Thanks for an illuminating article. I really enjoyed reading this!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

And I very much enjoyed your comment suzettenaples! I suppose people don't want to see how the word charity has been twisted (like the word, "replenish") or at the very least, drastically changed, but it makes a huge difference when reading the old King James, the oldest English version. I'm glad you don't find it a trivial matter either. Thanks so much for the wise words and the praise. Glory to God!


Caleb DRC profile image

Caleb DRC 3 years ago

Alexander Mark, what I got from this hub is that charity goes beyond an outward mechanical act to an inward inspiration to build others up into better people having better lives.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 3 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Yes, it is more than a mechanical act and that inward inspiration is instead a complete love - true charity that builds up others. As God loves us, we love others.


Charity 2 years ago

Thank you for this! I so often had to explain that charity is not a donation or organisation and so on I began to look it up and also read the translations in the dictionaries. I began to hae doubts but thank Go i found your page! you can imagine what this means to me. THANKS.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 2 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Wow, thank YOU Charity! I am grateful to hear this has had such an impact - what I was hoping for when this was written.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is great and I have add it as a source for one of my hubs. I love your definition because I agree with it wholeheartedly. Charity is the love of God and all men yes! Voted up, used and shared!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 22 months ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you so much Rodric29 - you did get it, not everyone does. Thank you for the vote and share and using this as a reference!


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Alexander Mark it is my pleasure. I planned to write an article about charity, but I found this article and you captured it all. In my faith we say Charity is the pure love of Christ.

Christ taught that we should love ALL people, hence the reference. Again, thanks for writing such a good hub! I hope one day to embody the meaning of charity by working on it daily,


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 22 months ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon Author

I give the glory to God my friend. Our only credit is that we put our hand to the plow.

I know what you mean, right now, I do not embody charity the way I should, and the way I understand it as I have written this hub. But knowing that God forgives despite our works, I know that my salvation is secure and it leaves me free to try to love the way God taught us to love through Jesus - unconditionally. Especially loving the unlovely!

Walking with the Master is a daily work, I agree.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

It is! I am struggling with this. I was taught that in order to have charity we must pray to God and ask for it specifically because it is a gift of the spirit that we cannot develop naturally without Christ.

Mother Theresa appears to have received this gift. I hope there are many people who have this gift and I just don't know about them. I am far from it right now. I am too full of pride to receive it.

This hub is a good start for people to understanding how charity can help and what it is. Loving the unlovely is the key I suppose here. I am not willing to do that right now. I know I need to and hopefully I will soften my heart that I can.

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